Wise Words on Community

“Whoever cannot be alone should beware of community. Such people will only do harm to themselves and to the community. Alone you stood before God when God called you. Alone you had to obey God’s voice. Alone you had to take up your cross, struggle, and pray and alone you will die and give an account to God. . . . You cannot avoid yourself, for it is precisely God who has singled you out. If you do not want to be alone, you are rejecting Christ’s call to you, and you can have no part in the community of those who are called . . . . But the reverse is also true. Whoever cannot stand being in community should beware of being alone. You are called into the community of faith; the call was not meant for you alone. You carry your cross, you struggle, and you pray in the community of faith, the community of those who are called. You are not alone even when you die, and on the day of judgment you will be only one member of the great community of faith of Jesus Christ . . . .Whoever cannot be alone should beware of community. Whoever cannot stand being in community should beware of being alone” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

Yes, faith is an individual matter. You and you alone will stand before Jesus one day to account for your life. But faith is also a community matter. You cannot (and were not meant to) live out your faith alone. There are no Lone Ranger Christians (and heck, even the Lone Ranger had Tonto).

You need to carve out your own individual disciplines that will help you grow in your faith. You also need a body of believers to belong to as well as a smaller community to laugh with, cry with, share with, who will love you and hold you accountable. It’s not either/or. It’s both.

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